Pakistan observes 'Malala Day' to promote education, temper extremism
Pakistan on Saturday honoured a schoolgirl who was the target of a radical insurgent hit squad as officials vowed to promote education and combat extremism in the South Asian nation.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon designated November 10 as Malala Day to recognize the teenager who championed female education after the Taliban banned girls' education and destroyed schools.
"The tragic attack on Malala (Yousafzai) has further strengthened the resolve of the people of Pakistan to fight the menace of extremism and terrorism," Foreign Ministry spokesman Moazzam Khan said.
"Pakistan strongly supports the right of every girl child to education. We firmly believe that education promotes the values of tolerance and paves the way for progress and prosperity. It also helps fight forces of extremism and intolerance," Khan said.
Yousafzai, 15, was attacked by Taliban on October 9 and wounded along with two schoolmates. After initial treatment, she was sent to Britain where she is recovering.
The UN sent special envoy for global education Gordon Brown to Pakistan to take part in the day's activities. He met President Asif Ali Zardari and presented a petition signed by more than 1 million people worldwide in support of "brave young girl Malala Yousafzai."
A government official said Brown would visit her school in the north-western region of Swat later Saturday.
"Malala represents the resilience of our girls and women. The terrorists shot Malala in the head and neck. Her attackers aren't just trying to kill a daughter of Pakistan. They are trying to kill Pakistan," Zardari said.
"The attack on her is an attack on every child in our region. It is an attack on the future of our region. We cannot sit idly as our children are attacked. We must act. Urgently."Author: Sajjad Malik